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Decrease Stress About Money

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During the Great Recession many, many, many people lost jobs, homes, relationships, and stability. Now some people are underemployed while others are still looking for work. People are concerned about 401k balances, paying mortgages, mounting credit card debt, and whether to default on student loans. Of course it’s normal to have stress over these things, but you don’t want to let stress take away your biggest money-maker: your health.

Understand Your Position
Stress comes from many sources, but one that I hear again and again from coaching clients is that they aren’t sure how much debt they are in but they are sure it’s “a lot”. The stress of not knowing is usually worse than the stress of being aware. Take a moment to figure out your net worth and I promise you’ll feel better.

Make a list of all of your assets (things that you own of value), add up the value of those things and write it on a sheet of paper. Next, make a list of all of your liabilities (money that you owe companies and people, and yes, the $20 you owe your Mom counts too), add up the value of those things, and write it on a sheet of paper under the value of your assets. Lastly, subtract your liabilities from your assets. If you have student loan debt, a mortgage, and a car payment your net worth will more than likely be negative.

Forgive Yourself
Now that you see how much money you actually owe, take a deep breathe. Whatever decisions got you to this place have already happened. Beating yourself up about it won’t set things right. At this point you’re going to have to accept that you had a higher income job before, or that you made some bad spending choices, or that your business isn’t bringing in as much money as you would like. Wallowing in misery isn’t going to help. Remember, only 10% of your life is what happened before. What you do now is the 90%.

Get to Work
You know where you stand financially, and you’ve stopped berating yourself about it, so now you’re ready to make a plan and execute it. I can’t tell you what that plan is. Maybe you need to make an uncomfortable call to the company that holds the loan for your credit card/home/car and ask them to reduce the interest they are charging you. Maybe you need to freeze your credit cards in ice to stop you from using them. Maybe you need to have a talk with friends and family about why you will not be buying extravagant presents anymore.

Once you start working towards getting a handle on your financial concerns I promise that your stress levels will go down. You’ll feel better with every payment you make and every step you take toward financial stability.

You know what you need to do, so get to it.

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She has written three books on personal finance, contributes to multiple online media platforms, and is a foster care alumni. She's been quoted on Bankrate.com, FoxBusiness.com, and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event or to find out more about her work, visit her at www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com.

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